A Dozen Poems and Images in April

More than 50 years ago in Totowa, NJ

I’ve always tried to be a good boy. Too quiet, though.

Joining sides with the neighborhood bully, my first best friend threw rocks at me just days before his family moved to Parsippany NJ.

He hit me in the head.

That’s the way little kids say goodbye, and this is the last photo of us together. My sister, in the middle, has never let me down.

A Good Boy

I was taught to be

as quiet as possible.

And so I am.

With one exception:

I scream when I write.


With every graveyard

we pass in our car,

my young daughters hold their breath.

Behind me,

in the back seat,

I hear their exaggerated gulps of air.

In the consequential silence,

I hold my own breath,

out of respect

for both the dead and the living.


The earth,

“Until next time.”

The moon, “Another Month.”

Meanwhile, stars glimpse eternity,

then die.

I Married Bugs Bunny

Gossamer in cellophane.

I was so excited to win

the prize at the boardwalk arcade

that both feet left the ground.

I was a lucky duck,

brought back to earth

by the gravity of your forbearing smile.

Mine, mine, all mine!

Mysteries of the Rosary

Each decade of my life,

I have stood in admiration

of a single prayer bead,

cloistered at The Met:

a high school field trip,

a very New York City date,

a visit with my children,

a visit alone,

a visit with my wife when our children had grown.

The intricately carved boxwood bead,

six centuries old,

opens to a triptych of Christ’s early life,

and shuts with his crucifixion.

Each decade of my life,

the display-case reflection of my aging face

mixes with this immutable art.

As the details blur,

I take a slower look.

Our Song

I remember when we met:

your red hair,

the kindling flame,

and the smoke that rose.

Lifting me like an olive branch.

I remember when we married:

the incense and cut flowers,

your mother’s dress,

and our friends on the church steps.

You, my homeward dove.

I remember when we parted:

the ash in your hair,

the blended notes of burning violins,

and us, just us, suspended in time.

Dance me to the end of love.

How I Imagine Santa’s Workshop

I can drive there,

our old car warning of a baby on board.

The valets are penguins, of course.

And, once inside,

I am surrounded by pets

who have died:

the dogs, just as gullible;

all the ageless hamsters

I replaced on the sly.

The one and only Spy Cat,

hero of our made-up stories,

eyes me coldly, inscrutable to the last.

I tell them all,

“I have come to take you home.”

Ted, the talking bear, awaits our return.

In your bedroom, alone.

On a lark, I wrote a poem each day this April, National Poetry Month, following prompts posted by New Jersey poet Alicia Cook.

Her prompts are detailed on Instagram, and my mansplaining background and all 22 poems (one for each weekday; weekends off) can be found on my blog.



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